Wellington - a Great British High Street finalist
Wellington has just missed out on a prestigious national title for its regeneration efforts - but being considered for the top accolade is still a massive boost for the town.
The town had entered the government’s ‘Great British High Street’ awards and was shortlisted for the ‘Rising Star’ category.
Wellington was shortlisted.at the recent awards ceremony in Edinburgh.
The Council’s regeneration work in Wellington formed the mainstay of the Love Wellington entry and the Council has funded a number of initiatives in Wellington which impressed the judges.
This has included an empty shop grant scheme to drive down long term vacancy rates has seen £60,000 of grants awarded to businesses in the town, including The Walnut restaurant, Nanny’s Craft Bakery, Nathan Rous PR and Dream Doors, supported because they have diversified the town’s offer.
The council has also led a programme of façade improvements, concentrated on the historic main market square, which used historic colours and materials in keeping with Wellington’s Georgian buildings.
Young people have also been involved, with a number of local schools entering the ‘Young High Street Challenge’, organised by the Council in 2018. The winners, Wrekin College, opened the Retro Shack on Duke Street in December.
Mayor Anthony Lowe said: "We were so close to winning and were delighted to have been shortlisted as a Great British High Street finalist.
“It has brought our historic market town community together in a common endeavour and the feedback from the judges has given us pointers in how to move forward in the new decade so we can have another go in coming years.
“The awards ceremony, attended by hundreds of guests from across the UK, was another opportunity to remind people of the regeneration work going on here.”
Cllr Lee Carter, Cabinet Member for borough economy said: “To get so close has been a fantastic achievement for Wellington and there’s so many groups and people working together to improve the town, attracting more visitors and businesses.
“A number of businesses in the town have benefitted from grants through our Pride in Our High Streets scheme, supporting new ideas like the opening of the Retro Shack, while our Telford 50 Legacy Fund has been key to helping the Wellington Orbit cinema, arts and community centre open which has greatly added to Wellington’s appeal.
“As part of our budget we’re proposing further investment to boost Wellington and other borough towns’ high streets with another £5 million fund to build on the great work already happening.”
The entry was submitted as part of the ‘Love Wellington’ campaign - an initiative funded by the Wellington Regeneration Board and led by a ‘High Street Champion’ and team of local volunteers.
Love Wellington is active on social and traditional media and works with Telford & Wrekin Council, Wellington Town Council, businesses and wider community in a co-ordinated and strategic way to promote the town.